Life Story

In the mystical land Down Under, a little girl was born to a pianist mother who always dreamed of playing alongside her own child. So, when Lisa Sung was just three years old, her mother handed her a violin. Lisa's tiny fingers struggled with the instrument at first, but she persevered, and only a few years later, she stood before her first audience, playing a Viotti concerto. Surrounded by enthusiastic audience members, she realized her love for music and performing.

Fast forward to age eleven, Lisa picked up the viola for a music scholarship audition. She wasn't too keen on it at first, but as she started playing, she found herself drawn to the warm, rich tones of the instrument. Local competitions were soon won, and Lisa eventually took out the State Concerto Competition in Australia, and performed the Bartók Viola Concerto at the Sydney Opera House. She later had the honor of performing solo for the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard. Her talent also landed her features on national music publications in Australia and Korea, and live broadcasts on Sydney radio.

Upon graduating high school, Lisa's ambition led her to leave Australia in 2014 to study at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York, as the first violist to receive the Kovner Fellowship scholarship in its inaugural year. The Kovner Fellowship program is known for its generous financial support, which covers tuition, fees, and living expenses for the entire duration of the recipient's time at Juilliard. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree and a Master of Music, studying with influential teachers such as Paul Neubauer and Cynthia Phelps. Her time at Juilliard provided her with countless opportunities, including a solo performance of Stravinsky's Elegie at Alice Tully Hall and serving as the principal violist of the Juilliard Orchestra.

At Juilliard, Lisa's love for chamber music grew exponentially, and she formed the all-female quartet 'Kahlo,' which was selected for Juilliard's esteemed Honors Chamber Music Program. As a quartet, they were heard in Alice Tully Hall, presented the world-premiere of ‘Coexistence’ by Byung Gu Kim, participated in the Juilliard String Quartet seminar and ChamberFest, were live-streamed on Medici TV, and played in a masterclass at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Lisa's talent and hard work paid off, and she was a laureate in many of the world's most prestigious music competitions, including the Gisborne International Music Competition, Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition, Manhattan International Music Competition, and Vienna International Music Competition, among others. These accolades led to her appointment as the new associate principal violist of Symphony in C in 2018 and frequent guest performances with the New York Philharmonic and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. She also became a member of the Jupiter Chamber Players where she performed many lesser-known chamber works.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit during a pivotal moment in Lisa's career as she graduated with her Master's degree in 2020. However, she continued to pursue her passion for music and played as a guest musician with the Australian Chamber Orchestra while teaching young students privately in Sydney and online in the United States. She was also a music tutor at the Sydney Youth Orchestra and private schools such as her alma mater MLC School, the King's School, and Abbotsleigh School.

Lisa embarked on the next chapter of her musical journey in September 2021, as she returned to the United States to pursue a graduate diploma at the New England Conservatory with the renowned pedagogue, Kim Kashkashian. Since relocating to Boston, Lisa has been a frequent guest musician with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. This summer, she will join them on their European tour, performing in some of the most prominent concert halls on the continent. In addition to her work with the Boston Symphony, Lisa has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony, and joined the New York Philharmonic on their Germany tour in the summer of 2022.  



Last edited March 2023